Fever 1793 is set in Philadelphia, which is the capital of the newly formed United States at the time. Daily life is disturbed by the introduction of yellow fever into the city during a very hot summer. It becomes an epidemic, and every family must decide whether to stay and hope that they are spared or flee to the country, where most people are still healthy.
Mattie is the main character, and her mother and grandfather run a successful coffee house. Mattie is thirteen and prefers not to work very hard. Her mother and Eliza, their cook, indulge her most of the time. Her grandfather adores her and sees no fault in Mattie, no matter what she does or doesn't do.
The first major event involves Polly, their housemaid, who dies of the fever. Polly is also a friend of Mattie's and of a similar age, and Polly was healthy just yesterday. How could this happen?
Mattie's mother causes the next major event by contracting the fever. Doctors come, professing to have the answer to curing the disease. One...
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